Updated: Jan 30
In Hebrew, the word “El” means, “God.” We see that are a part of many names in the Old Testament, including “Isra-el” – where that is said to mean “Persistence of God” or “God Strives” – and Immanu-el – where the meaning is “God (is) With Us.
Today, we read from the first book of Samu-el, which is named for a great prophet of Israel, prior to it becoming a nation with kings.
The name “Samu-el” means, “Heard of God,” where the reading states Hannah proclaiming she named her miracle son Samu-el because, “I have asked him of the LORD.”
“God Heard” Hannah, so she named her son Samu-el as a statement of truth.
Imagine the vibration of prayer as light beams.
Still, the name Samu-el can be translated so it says, “Name of God,” where the person named has a “Godly Name.” In that way, Hannah blessed the LORD by naming her gift from God as being possible ONLY because he came in the “Name of God,” to whom she prayed.
Samu-el was then like Jesus, in the sense that both were miracle babies, both were born to serve God, and both heard the voice of God speaking to them.
What is missed from this focus on the result of prayer is the character Hannah, the one who prayed. Hannah is a name meaning, “Graciousness” or “Gratuitous Gift.” The definition of “graciousness,” in a Christian context, is, “Merciful or compassionate.”
In this next-to-last week of the Ordinary season, where the practice of apostleship has now stretched twenty-five weeks, with a large portion of the lessons pointing a laser beam at an Apostle being the “wife of God,” Hannah reminds Christians of their need to be “Merciful” and “Compassionate.”
When we see Hannah as a reflection of OUR NEED to feel barren, simply because we have not brought forth the “Name of God” from within our bodies, look at the “other wife” in this story of Hannah praying for a son – Samu-el – God Heard.
The “other wife” is Peninnah, whose name means, “Coral” or “Pearl.” The other wife represents those who commit to God, but then see themselves as valuable because of that relationship. Together, they form a strong, protective reef, but one underwater and dangerous. As pearls, they are valuable, but only when found; as they too are enclosed in a protective covering. They bear children, but they do not bear their souls in the “Name of God.”
Peninnah represents typical people who call themselves “Christian,” and for that commitment … going to church, reading the Bible, and raising their kids in the same manner as they were raised … God rewards them.
Standard Christians earn a “single portion,” as that which has already been sacrificed – Jesus of Nazareth. A “single portion” is like a smiley face sticker on a grade school project.
Hannah then represents the people who are truly “Christian,” for they put forth a greater level of commitment to Christ AND God – deserving a “double portion.” They not only believe in Jesus as the Christ, they sacrifice like Jesus did, becoming a reborn Jesus.
From this view, we should see God as our husband, just as Hannah’s husband asked her, “Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
A true Apostle of Christ is sad by not being the One Son of God. With God in one’s heart, sadness is not having reborn that one son – Samu-el – he who comes in the Name of God, from God having Heard our heart’s prayer.
Of course, by not having yet become the reincarnation of Jesus, one looks to typical Christians for support, only to have them act as “rivals,” who “provoke severely.” Jealousy has them ask, “Who are you to think there is more to being Christian than simply believing in Jesus as Christ?”
Christians like that give Christianity a bad sense of faith, which causes more and more people who feel deeply there is supposed to be more that simply the same old same old – no one allowed to question, with no one having answers.
They weep and stop taking communion, just as “Hannah wept and would not eat.” Still, true Christians never stop talking to God.
The high priest Eli, who would later raise Samuel as a prophet, saw Hannah and thought she was faking her devotion, which truly came from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Eli had been around a long time and knew some things. He knew that many do fake devotion in a place of worship, for others to take notice. As a prophet and priest, Eli was going by the book that says the first judgment is, “Stop it! You’re drunk on wine.”
The Apostles heard that same rejection on the Day of Pentecost, when they were moved by the Holy Spirit at 9:00 AM. It was no different when Hannah heard Eli write off her lips moving as if she had gotten high on the beauty of a building.
Eli treated Hannah as if she were overdoing her emotional feelings for the ceremonial passing out of wafers and wine.
Have you ever heard a fellow Christian say how moved they are by the Sacramental Eucharist? Have you heard them swear they are filled with the Holy Spirit simply because of the moment at the altar, inside a church building?
Eli – a true prophet himself – would talk to them just as he accused Hannah of pretending to be spiritually uplifted.
You do not get filled with the Holy Spirit by simple presence in a building of sacred acts. That is pretense.
And the crowd felt like singing “Mine eyes have seen the coming of the LORD.”
Read the prayer of Hannah again and see if you can be so committed to truthfully say, “My heart exults in the LORD, my strength is exalted in my God.” If you can, then you do not need a sanctuary setting to feel that way.
A few weeks back, I pointed out how being married to God means you leave this bus stop and long for Christ, pine for him as your husband. You cannot stop the longing, to the point that you pour over the meaning in the books of the Holy Bible when away from church, and then cannot wait to share that meaning with others.
Does your heart truly “rejoice greatly and become jubilant in the LORD?” Does it truly “jump triumphantly” in your chest, as DEEP LOVE for the LORD … with or without crackers and wine?
It can be that way … if you do what is required … and receive an earned “double portion” of sacrifice.
Now, by seeing ourselves as Hannah, who is praying to bring about the rebirth of Jesus – who sacrificed so we could see the same need to sacrifice our egos [a double sacrifice] – we can see how we also should be praying to bring about the rebirth of Samu-el. We must pray to be transformed into one who is sent in the Name of God.
That transformation then makes us represent God. We become dedicated servants, just as Hannah dedicated Samu-el to service, under Eli. We stop being who we were and begin being who God plans us to be.
Imagine the flames of fire as a double portion [2-way] of vibrations to and from God.
As such, we – like Jesus – also sit at the right hand of God, because God is within our being – not external to us. This is what Paul meant, as he wrote to the Hebrew-speaking Jews of Rome, when he said, “[Jesus] sat down at the right hand of God.”
We ARE a temple unto the LORD, with His throne being in our hearts.
Paul then went on to write, “For by a single offering he had perfected for all time those who are sacrificed” … those who are sacrificed because of the single offering … those who sacrifice like Jesus, so they will become Jesus reborn.
Paul then quoted Jeremiah 31:33, “This is the covenant I will make with [the people of Israel] after [that time],” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
That is the meaning of Hannah, as the wife dedicated to God. It is why Jeremiah wrote the promise, “Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no longer any offering for sin.”
Jesus died once so we could become his second sacrifice … one that keeps on giving.
One sacrifice means no more sacrifices; but YOU are that one sacrifice, BECAUSE Jesus died to show everyone you can only stop sinning by having the laws written on your heart and Christ in your mind … just like Jesus.
This brings us to the Gospel reading from Mark, where the focus seems to change and turn to stone and mortal temples.
You are the only temple unto the LORD that matters. God molded your development in your mother’s womb, so you are the house built by God. Upon your heart and mind must the laws of God be written.
That covenant is only obtained through marriage … a deep commitment of subservience, based wholly on LOVE.
Once again, we sing the same song, different verse.
Christ must become the cornerstone of YOU. That will transform you into an Apostle, filled with God’s Holy Spirit. What looks like YOU and what goes by YOUR name is really Jesus, due to the love of God and the Mind of Christ.
YOU must realize that “not one stone [of YOU] will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” YOU will cease being YOU and YOU will be rebuilt as a Temple of the LORD.
We cannot be destroyed and rebuilt exactly the same … contrary to Sci-Fi ideas.
When the disciples were with Jesus later, they asked him, “Why will this be?” Jesus said, “Beware that no one leads you astray.”
Imagine yourself asking, “What’s wrong with me as I am? Why do I need to be destroyed and then rebuilt?”
It is because your big brain gets bedazzled by great size and beautiful things, just like the “single portion” disciples were.
Jesus then warned, “Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!”
You will be fooled, no matter how smart your big brain is. You will fall for fancy suits, ornate buildings and preachers that tell you “Do nothing at all! I come to tell you Jesus died so you just need to put a little offering in the plate.”
After millennia of big bad wolves taking advantage of the religion called Christianity, leading people away from praying to be Samu-el, whose Name of God was Jesus, people stopped being true Apostles. A Roman Church built huge cathedrals and anointed high priests and national leaders as God-sent. The consequence was the world has been led so far astray that “war and rumors of wars” have long been upon us.
Just recently France closed its borders due to attacks against its capital.
As it always will be in times of darkness, we should heed the words of Jesus warning, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
“There will be earthquakes in various places.”
“There will be famines.”
Now, seeing that vision of the future of the world, see YOURSELF as the focus of those words. Can you see your “single portion” religion as drawing lines in the dirt, condemning politicians of “the other side,” hearing threats upon your almighty authority over your own family and place of origin as reasons to war?
Is your position on earth crumbling and quaking?
Are you hungry for the way religion used to soothe the world … rather than inflame it?
Katrina was a crumbling experience for many, just like those around the world who face recovery from earthquakes.
“This is but the beginning of the birthpangs,” said Jesus. YOU need to be reborn, become a second sacrifice, and receive a double portion. Otherwise, the “Pearl” that is this worldly version of YOU will be all there is of value. No mercy or compassion towards eternal reward can be expected, if you hold your light inside an oyster.
Next Sunday is Christ the King Sunday. It will end the Pentecost Season and end the liturgical year, B. Advent will follow … a new beginning of the cycles becomes Year C. Cycles that never cease, because people will always be called to STOP – LISTEN – HEED.
Year after year you come and sit in a pew, listening to men and women telling you, “Do what I say, because I speak for Jesus Christ!”
Year after year they tell you, “Do not worry. Ignore the rumors and natural upheavals surrounding you. We are saved.”
It is time to tear down the old and let Christ become your cornerstone, as God rebuilds you into who you were intended to be – His Son … regardless of your gender.
To reach that point, YOU have to become engaged to God and pass the tests of sincerity. You have earned a single share of Jesus’ sacrifice already; but you lack the deep love of total commitment and personal sacrifice of self to God.
You have to decide if you are Hannah or “the other wife,” Peninnah. You have to earn the right to add “El” to your name.
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